Viva Vivaldi

Did Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) compose anything other thank the Four Seasons? On my shelf I have a 40 cd boxset that isn’t 40 versions of the Four Seasons. In fact this boxset doesn’t contain his complete works either. He composed at a time when folks played music in their homes or heard it in churches. It was music for the masses & Masses, not for elitist concert halls & massive orchestras.

I do have multiple version of The Four Seasons though. As stand alone I have it by il Giordino Armonico which I heard on CBC. The sound quality amazed me – it is as if you are standing in the middle of the small chamber orchestra. I have Nigel Kennedy’s energetic romp through it. Also some fun jazz takes – Moe Kaufmann’s is  delightful & worth tracking down. Wendy Carlos’ Sonic Seasonings stretches it into the stratosphere. The Koto Ensemble version is also a delight.

The box set reveals the full extent of Vivaldi’s versatility as a composure with delightful sonatas for flute, recorder, violin, mandolin & more. All with complex continuo support, at times by organ, harpsichord or viola. There are some of his masses, motets, cantatas, concertos & songs. Even his transcription/adaptations of Bach. 

As I worked though the box set his influence on later romantic composers becomes clear. The final cd is La Senna Festeggiante which is one of his serenatas that is almost an opera. Like when listening to Mozart, you wonder

when did this man sleep. 



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